, Post-Operative Care at Home, Care24

Post-Operative Care at Home

Care24 Administrator Conditions, Elder Care

The key aspects of a safe recovery at home after surgery to keep in mind are:

  • Ensure the use of aseptic and no-touch techniques for changing or removing dressings
  • Make sure to leave the wound untouched for at least 48 hours after surgery
  • Do not shower for at least 48 hours after surgery unless instructed otherwise by your doctor
  • Keep all the dressing supplies clean and accessible
  • Know and understand your discharge medications clearly
  • Asses your pain and fall risk

Life at home after surgery

After surgery, your doctor uses stitches, staples, adhesive strips, and/or tissue glue to close the incision site. You will need to care for these until the wound heals to prevent any incision site infection, scarring, pain, discomfort, and other complications. These are some important tips to keep in mind during your recovery phase to ensure a speedy, complication-free recovery:

Lower your risk of infection

  • Observe your incision site daily to identify any changes i.e. look for any pus, fluid discharge, etc.
  • Clean and change your dressing as per your doctoräó»s recommendation (daily, weekly, etc.)
  • Always keep the incision site dry
  • Do not rub/scratch the incision site
  • Do not use powders or lotions on the incision site unless explicitly okayed by your doctor

Changing your dressing

  • Wash your hands thoroughly before touching a wound or dressing
  • Make sure all the supplies are ready to use
  • Gently loosen the tape of the dressing and remove the old dressing
  • Clean the wound by gently washing it with a mild soap and water to eliminate the top layer and pat dry with a clean towel
  • Place a new clean gauze on the wound and tape it with medical adhesive tape
  • Make sure to wash your hands

Caring for your stitches, staples, or adhesive strips

  • Stitches and staples are likely to cause irritation and redness around the incision site and some discharge is expected; however, contact your doctor immediately if the discharge increases or contains blood or pus
  • If tissue glue or adhesive strips were used to keep your incision site together, make sure to keep the area dry as they tend to fall off by themselves after a few days

Protect yourself from infections

The most common complication after surgery is an infection. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1-3 out of 100 patients develop post-operative infections. Therefore, learn how to recognize the signs of infection. Following are common signs of infection that you should be aware of and lookout for after surgery:

  • Fever
  • Worsening pain
  • Green or yellow color discharge from the wound
  • Skin changes at the site of incision
  • Foul odor from the discharge
  • Bleeding from the site of incision
  • Incision area feels hot/warm to touch
  • Redness around the incision site

For patients who have a family that will take care of them, it is important that the caretaker is also aware of the wound care and aseptic techniques required. There are professional services provided by private firms for complete homecare after surgery.